A 7-year-old boy from Britain spent the equivalent of $1800 in just one hour by playing a mobile game, forcing his father to sell the family car as a consequence.
Ashaz bought numerous expensive in-game upgrades, costing between $2.70 and $138, while he was playing ‘Dragons: Rise of Berk’. His father, Muhammad, a 41-year-old doctor, found out about the expenditure only when he saw the 29 email receipts that were waiting for him.
“Initially, my thought was that I had been scammed. I never thought it would be possible to spend that much money on a kids’ game,” the desperate father told LadBible.
Muhammad had no clue that the game was so driven by microtransactions.
After he complained to Apple, he received a refund of £207 ($287) but had to sell his Toyota Aygo in order to pay off the remainder of the bill.
The father, who lives with his wife Fatima and children Ashaz, Areefa, and Aliyah in Colwyn Bay, Wales said the following:
“I said to customer services, ‘Well done, you’ve ripped me off, you have succeeded in ripping my child off’.”
When approached by LadBible, Apple said that even though they take such cases seriously, they would advise parents to be more careful while their children play mobile games.
And sadly, this is not the only case of its kind…
This alarming case of children racking up huge debts on FIFA highlights considerable fears that gaming is a gateway to gambling, with boys and girls hooked in at ridiculously young ages by loot boxes. The case for tighter regulation is overwhelming.https://t.co/vuMl5mNHTZ
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) July 9, 2019
In 2019 a disabled boy spent £3160 ($4376) on an in-game purchase.
His mother told the BBC at the time:
“I have a 22 year-old disabled son, who has cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, learning difficulties and the approximate cognitive ability of a seven-year-old child.
He is unable to do any bilateral activities so relies heavily on his iPad and PlayStation for entertainment and educational activities.
He has recently been playing a game on his iPad called Hidden Artifacts which involves finding various items and matching them to the description.
He has been charged £3160.58 between 18 February and 30 May 2019, clearing out his entire savings.
I contacted iTunes, who were extremely helpful but were unable to refund the amount and suggested I contact Blastworks Ltd, the app developer and game provider. [Under European rules, Apple users in the EU can request to cancel an order within 14 days of purchase].
I have phoned and emailed several times but have had no response.
It is extremely distressing that vulnerable people, such as my son, become victims of what is thought to be an educational game.
I have tried tirelessly to recoup his life savings but constantly come up against a brick wall.”
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